East, Iceland
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Hafrahvammagljúfur is a majestic canyon located in the Jökuldalur valley in East Iceland, roughly eight kilometres in length. Although not the country’s widest canyon, its depth reaches a staggering 200 metres, rivalling some of Iceland’s most profound natural formations. The canyon is meticulously carved by the Jökulsá á Dal river and has a captivating charm with spectacular rock formations, so grand and tall that they will leave you speechless and humble. The river flows through the canyon with turquoise waters that contrast starkly with the dark and terrific rockface of the canyon walls. At the top end of the canyon is a dam and in August the overflow from there changes the colour of the water from beautiful turquoise to muddy brown. It is different but beautiful in its rawness.

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    Lighting conditions

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    Accessibility, services and permits

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  • Visitors and risk factors

    Visitors and risk factors

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This location is roughly 10 kilometres from the Kárahnjúkar dam. From road 910, there lies a rough gravel road, 2-kilometres-long, that leads you to the parking lot. From the parking lot, a 720 metres easy hike takes you to the main viewing platform. With permission, you could use 4-wheelers to transport gear to the platform.
Public transportation unavailable
There is no public transportation available in this area
4x4 required
Challenging terrain accessible only by off-road vehicles with high ground clearance
Bad phone coverage
Poor phone coverage with frequent interruptions
Not needed
Guide is not needed

Services nearby

Nearest hospital is in Norðfjörður, 174 kilometres away. Within 100 kilometres, there are many airbnbs and guesthouses. The town of Egilsstaðir is 106 kilometres away with restaurants, hotels and all basic services.
< 50 km
Gas station
More than 50 km away
Hospital or emergency room
More than 50 km away
< 1 km
< 50 km
More than 50 km away


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This area needs a two-way permit.
Shooting permits are issued by the local government
Hafrahvammagljúfur is a part of a dam that a local energy company manages and maintains.
Shooting permits are issued by the local government

Basecamp and facilities

There is a medium-sized parking lot for the canyon’s main viewing platform. The surrounding landscape is vast gravel tundra that could be used as a large basecamp with special permission and guidelines from the energy company managing the site. Kárahnjúkar dam lies only 10 kilometres away with a large parking lot and basic facilities.

Risk factors

The canyon is 200 meters tall, and the cliff edges are very unstable. Wind can be treacherous in these areas and the vegetation close the edges is slippery and declining downwards.


The location is en-route to a medium/high tourist attraction in the highlands, few hikers venture down into the canyon from the viewpoint, mostly people tend to stop for an hour or so for a picture.

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